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Fundamentals of the Physical Environment.

Geomorphology and Soils

Geomorphology is the study of landforms and the processes that shape them.  Soils are byproducts and archives of landform evolution as well as regulators and recorders of surface and near-surface environmental conditions. Four faculty members, Carol HardenLiem Tran, Yingkui Li, and Sally Horn, conduct research in process geomorphology (fluvial, hillslope, glacial) and/or study soil processes or soils as archives of previous environmental conditions. Research themes have included soil erosion, soil-water relations, sediment linkages between land and stream, glacial history, cosmogenic isotope nuclide dating of landforms and sediments, paleoclimate inferences from paleosols, and fire histories based on soil charcoal.  The department has labs equipped to analyze physical characteristics of soils and sediments, and to prepare samples for cosmogenic nuclide dating. Members of the Geography faculty collaborate with colleagues in Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Civil and Environmental Engineering in research involving geomorphology and sediments.